The Federal Medical Center, Owerri has been in the news for sometime now, and for the wrong reasons, too. The army of immensely corrupt personnel at that health center has refused to let the hospital operate freely, as they are hell bent on having their selfish way without minding how that affects the ordinary people for whom that center was established in the first place.
Last Sunday as I went to the Relief market, Owerri to buy some things for the house, I met an old friend and a Comrade in our days as student unionists, who is now a resident doctor at FMC, Owerri. I took him up on the illegitimacy of their demands and the irresponsibility of their incessant industrial actions which have seen that center become a shadow of its self within the last four months. I told my friend that he and his colleague resident doctors are exhibiting the worst callousness by continuing on this strike while our siblings die in droves, yet, they collect salaries for works they do not do. He confided in me that while he cannot truly tell me what is her sins, that Dr. Angela Uwakwem’s ouster is the aim of the leaders of most of the Unions in that center. I told him, that if he is still a humanist like he portrayed himself as, during our days in school, then he should begin to mobilize like minds within their Union to pull out from that strike, if not for anything, to save the lives for which they are being paid salary in the first place. I told how a friend of mine lost her triplets at that hospital, because of something as inexcusable as the unavailability of Oxygen machines. This couldn’t have happened if there was no crisis in that center, and Angela Uwakwem was allowed to carry out her functions without disturbances.
Since August when Dr. Uwakwem proceeded on one month annual leave and handed over temporarily to Dr. Ajuonuma who acted as the MD of the center for the period of her leave, that hospital has been sliding back to the dark days when you could hardly distinguish that hospital from an abandoned local market. People now come to work when they want, leave whenever they feel like, and petty trading has taken over the entire place.
Patients who troop to that hospital on daily basis are treated like pieces of rag, as the over 70 consultants on the employ of that hospital seem to have abandoned their duty posts and retired to their private hospitals, at the detriment of ordinary Imolites. There are also over 20 medical officers employed by the hospital, who enjoy mouth watering salary from the Federal Ministry of health, yet when you go to the hospital they will tell you that resident doctors are on strike, hence, you can’t access the right medical care you wish for. With close to 100 medical doctors who are not on strike, the FMC, Owerri should function smoothly, if there was a competent manager at the helm. Do not mistake it, Angela Uwakwem is still the substantive MD, but the gang of mourners have ridiculously denied her access to her office, hence, we can say that Dr. Ajuonuman is in charge,yet, the hospital is grounded. Dr Ajuonuma and his gang coup plotters have been allowed to hold power for sometime now, albeit, illegally, yet, they are obviously lost as to how to move the hospital forward.
I got the title for this essay from the headline story of Community Watchdog Newspaper, which featured on one of its editions last week. In that report, the editors at Community Watchdog tried to place all the blames for the incessant crisis at the FMC, Owerri on the doorsteps of the MD, Dr. Uwakwem. But, this only exposes the fact that my friend and Comrade, Precious Nwadike who is the Editor-in-Chief of that wonderful paper, failed to carry out his investigations properly before going to press. If he did, he would have known that the actual witches at FMC, Owerri are those medical officers who abandon their duty posts and prefer to engage in arrangements to execute a putsch against a woman whom they have not been able to bring up any credible allegations against.
We do not forget that they have singing it, that Dr. Angela Uwakwem is the only problem with the FMC, Owerri, but now that she has tactically stepped aside for more than two months now, what is happening at the FMC, Owerri.
It is unfortunate that people have chosen to stay aloof, while our cherished FMC, Owerri is fast degenerating to a mass graveyard, while the same people who are being paid from public till to save lives, relish the reality of our sufferings and frustrations. The writers of that headline story should have been fair enough to tell their readers that majority of those who are calling for Angela Uwakwem’s head on a platter are some of the worst corrupt individuals to have worked anywhere. They should have also being fair enough to tell us what facts and evidences these trouble makers were able to present to the Investigative Panel sent by the Federal Government. Even if they were able to, would it not have been right for them to wait for the report of that investigative panel before they continue to obstruct free flow of administration in that hospital.
I totally agree with the authors of that newspaper report that there is witchcraft going on in that hospital, and that the hospital is turning to a graveyard of sorts, but they should have been investigative enough to know the actual people indulging in that witchcraft. There cannot be worst witches than a group of people who go in black and black attire chanting funeral songs against their fellow human being, while the lives they are being paid to save are lost in droves, daily. There cannot be worst witches than a group of people who abandon their duty posts and allow our sick siblings to die just because they want to embarrass one person and enthrone another.